US declines to confirm Ilyas Kashmiri’s killing

WASHINGTON: Despite Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s reported assertion that Washington has confirmed the death of Ilyas Kashmiri, the United States has declined to do so.

“I don’t have any confirmation of that,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Monday when asked about Gilani’s statement about the killing of a key plotter of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in a US drone strike in Pakistan.

Kashmiri, the commander of Pakistan based Harakut-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJi), an Al Qaeda-connected terror group is believed to be responsible for several attacks in India and Pakistan.

When told that the US defence department was also not confirming, Toner said he was aware of press reports from Pakistan but repeated: “I would just reiterate we have no confirmation.”

“I both have no comment and no way of confirming his death,” he added in response to persistent questioning.

Asked what Pakistan had told US officially or non-officially about Kashmiri’s death, Toner said: “I’m not going to get in the substance of those discussions.”

Earlier Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan simply told reporters: “No confirmation.”

“The department of defence has no confirmation,” he said when asked about Gilani’s reported statement that the US has confirmed the death of Kashmiri.


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